To What Extent Do You Agree With The View That The Commonwealth Failed Because Of Its Lack Of Reforms? (30 Marks)

796 words - 4 pages

To what extent do you agree with the view that the Commonwealth failed because of its lack of reforms? (30 marks)
The Commonwealth lasted from the 1649-1653 and was made up of the Rump and the Nominated Assembly. At the time there were many issues that needed reform such as religious, legal, electoral, taxation and the constitution. It is fair to say that the Commonwealth did fail because of their lack of reforms to some extent; however this was not for lack of trying. The Rump did fail to reform, but the Nominated Assembly trued to reform but was dissolved by its own members before it could. However this was not the main reason why eh Commonwealth failed seeing as they were unpopular and ...view middle of the document...

This is exemplified further by the lack of electoral reform as the army wanted to extend the franchise and have more elections. However the army was the breeding ground for radicals and so the Commonwealth did not want to extend the franchise because of their fear of radicalism. This is further shown by their lack of religious toleration and religious reform.
However, there are other factors that suggest the Commonwealth failed for other reasons than their failure to reform. This is predominantly proven by the fact the Nominated Assembly did reform. For example, there were legal reforms where the Hale Commission nominations were accepted. Further reforms were made with JPs who were made from shop owners instead of the gentry, however their biggest attempt at reform was their biggest downfall; their attempts to reform the tithe system as this reform was hugely unpopular and led to their self-dissolution.
It is also fair to say that the Commonwealth failed because of their lack of support. This was predominantly because the Rump was seen as Regicide. In addition, the Engagement alienated Rump support; for example the Act of Pardon and Oblivion was an attempt to attract Royalist support, however, it only applied to some Royalists as it was a pardon granted for all treasonous acts against the Commonwealth committed before September 1651. However, the Act provoked hostility from many...

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